Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Bat Ye'or -

I must say, although I own the book Eurabia by Bat Ye'or, I have never been a believer in her thesis. Her writing is obscure and confused (possibly the result of bad translation?), her footnotes many times lead either nowhere (in at least one case, she claimed no minutes were allowed to be taken for a series of EU meetings she cited as the source of her information), or to papers published in French journals in the 1960-70's, and her overall point, that there is a formalized agreement between Europe and the Arab world to Islamicize European culture and policy seems the stuff of conspiracy theory.

In fact, I would challenge my readers to come up with a qualitative distinction between the Bat Ye'or thesis, and that of the recent Robert Fisk Independent article United States Of Israel. One says the Jews control America, and the other seems to say the Arabs control Europe.

Now, let me be clear, there is a difference between my saying I don't buy the theory, and saying the theory is wrong. I leave open the possibility that Europe really does intend to Islamicize itself, because, certainly, from the tangible evidence, it appears to be true. But, one must pose several questions first;

1) Could Europe's Islamic initiative (the Euro-Arab Dialogue) simply be European Hudna; a kind of longterm softcore appeasement plan with little actual intent, on their part, to carry out it's policies?

2) Would it not be natural, instead of diabolical, for Europe to cozy up to Arab governments, and play Hudna with them, considering they don't have as much pull on the international oil market as the United States?

3) Is it not true that the level of influence any given trading partner has on the nations with which it trades is directly proportionate to the relative importance of the goods and services provided?

In other words, is the European-Arab Dialogue any different than the agreements the United States has with Arab governments. We trade military support (protecting the trade routes, and the borders, of the various Middle Eastern countries), while Europe has to rely on more complex agreements, involving goods and services, technology, and cultural cooperation.

This does not strike me as diabolical. Instead, it strikes me as the invisible hand of capitalism. One thing we can assume is that Europe will do what serves Europe's interests. It does not serve Europe's interest to willingly trade away its sovereignty. If Europe is multiplicitous in their dealings with America, then, can we not assume that Europe would also be multiplicitous in their dealings with the Arab world?

Have we not seen that Europe is willing to back down from it Euro-taqiiya when its interests are threatened? For instance, in the case of Iran's recent progress towards nuclear weaponry, suddenly, rather than triangulating America out, Europe has joined with America in opposition to the Arab world. It is likely that, in the final analysis, Europe will not support an American military strike, but their opposition will merely be a way of saving face in the Arab world (who I believe will also secretly support an American strike.)

In short, where Bat Ye'or sees malevolent anti-Semitism on the geopolitical stage, I see the natural, if gluttonous, interplay of competing interests.

This leads us to a story of the process of European Islamicization. The largest Muslim group in Sweden has presented a very long list of demands for the accomodation of Islam. Although much of the list is couched in gentle, multicultural PC-speak, there is a passage which includes a threat of unrest, if the demands are not met.

Gates of Vienna has a rundown of some of the more greedy demands, a few of which I will include here, with Baron's commentary (in orange):

The problems that exist in regards to the Swedish religious freedom is that it is a Pietistic coloured understanding of individualised religion, that lie behind the Swedish laws regarding religious freedom, whereas for the Muslim minority it is the collective expressions of the religion that are central.

Mahmoud Aldebe, the author of these demands for Muslims, exposes here his own cultural blindness. Muslim collective religious thought does not trump individual religious expression. Sorry, Mahmoud, you can’t argue against the Enlightenment.

The Muslim minority criticises this narrow definition of religion that is the basis of the Swedish laws regarding religious freedom… we can request corrections of the Swedish family law to adapt it to Islam. It is this law that is the most important to Swedish Muslims: marriage, divorce, child protection, and raising underage children.

So far, Muslims have a great record on raising children, given the aggression of young Muslim males against Swedish women. It is the Muslim attitude (read: “contempt for”) Swedish women that needs to change.

A mosque in every city or county would have significant value to the Muslims of the country… it would greatly increase the sense of loyalty towards Sweden as your new homeland, despite being a Muslim.

A little blackmail here?

And now, we come to the one demand which, particularly, struck me as supporting Bat Ye'or's Eurabia thesis:

Despite the fact that Islam has existed for 32 years as an organised religion in Sweden, the construction of burial grounds has been constantly hampered. Other than in the forest church yard in Stockholm there are Muslim burial grounds in 20 something countries, but that is not enough. Today there are Muslims in nearly 100 counties that lack burial grounds. The biggest general problem that Muslims encounter is that their dead are to be buried as quickly as possible, according to Islamic custom, and by a Muslim burial in their home county.

Baron asserts that this is the Islamist attempt to establish a waaf, for Dar al-Islam, in the heart of Europe:

What Mr. Aldebe fails to mention is the Islamic notion of waqf. Essentially, waqf means that any real estate in which Muslims have ever been buried becomes Islamic property in perpetuity.

I can buy that. If one doubts the odd concept of property in Dar al-Islam all one has to consider is that Islamists, from Qutb to Bin Laden, have referred to Spain by its former Muslim name; Andalusia.

Once Islamic, always Islamic, under pain of death to the Infidel.

But, the point here is, this Islamic organization stated in its list of demands that Islam was established as an organized religion, within Swedish borders, precisely 32 years ago. That would be 1974, for those without a calculator. This corresponds precisely with Bat Ye'or contention that Europe traded cultural concessions for favoritism in the wake of the OPEC-induced oil crisis, which began in 1973. In fact, here is a passage from a Front Page Magazine Interview with Bat Ye'or, which gives evidence, both, for her thesis being accurate, and for its all-encompassing paranoia:

FP: Is Europe's dependence on Arab oil a predominant factor in its pro-Arab policy?

Bat Ye'or: No, I don't think so. Arab leaders have to sell their oil; their people are very dependent on European economic, health and technological aid. America made this point during the oil embargo in 1973. The oil factor is a pretext to cover up a policy that emerged in France before that crisis. The policy was already conceived in the 1960s. It has strong antecedents in the French 19th century dream of governing an Arab empire and the exploitation of antisemitism to strengthen Arab Muslim-French solidarity against a demonized common enemy.

It is a project that was conceived, planned and pursued consistently through immigration policy, propaganda, church support, economic associations and aid, cultural, media and academic collaboration. Generations grew up within this political framework; they were educated and conditioned to support it and go along with it. This is the source of the strong anti-American feeling in Europe and of the paranoiac obsession with Israel, two elements that form the cornerstone of Eurabia.

Until 1971, France had been isolated in the EC in its anti-Israel stance. European Community critics accused it of bias toward the Arab world. Faced with the oil crisis, the nine EC countries -- under French and German leadership -- unified their views regarding the Middle East conflict and this generated the Euro-Arab Dialogue's overall development.

Ok, so which is it? Let's be honest here. Is Bat Ye'or a prophetess of the rise of Eurabia through rational process of Islamicization motivated by a European misunderstanding of what's in its own best interests?

Or is Bat Ye'or a paranoid conspiracy theorist who has taken something which is demonstrably true (that Europe is undergoing a process of Islamicization precipitated by its Socialist need for immigration) and bundled it, with a wholistic paranoia which can all explain all manner of phenomena simply by appealing back to the idea that Europeans hate Jews?